Justinian C. Lane, Esq.
Let Justice Be Done, Though the Heavens May Fall
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Justinian Lane's Blog

Justinian's Blog

You don't need to prove causation if the defendants are trial lawyers

A couple of weeks ago, Dennis Quaid appeared and testified at the U.S. House of Representatives’ Committee on Oversight and Government Reform’s hearing on FDA preemption.  The entire 74-page transcript is worth reading - at least if you too have no life.  During a portion of the hearing, Representative Bilbray argues in favor of preemption because of a personal tragedy in his life:

And my concern here is -- and I'll say this, Mr. Quaid -- in my situation, my wife was chronically -- was acutely reactive to pregnancy. She had morning sickness so bad, that when she had her first child in the '70s, she almost died. They gave her Bendectin, and she learned that that was what she had to have. When it came back to the '70s, the product was taken off the market -- not because the FDA ever found that the product was defective, but because of litigation after litigation was going after deep pockets.

Sadly, when my child, my first boy was born, the product wasn't available to my wife. My wife almost died. And thank God there was a doctor who was willing to find old product to be able to give to my wife. And that was one of those things that it's sad that, not because of science, but because of litigation and the deep pockets, my wife almost died then.

Now, there's no way for me to say there was a nexus, but three months later -- three months later, the baby didn't wake up. And physicians feel that the trauma at the first trimester contributes severely to crib death. And I cannot prove it, but I know in my heart, that my child died because the proper product wasn't available, because the science wasn't driving the issue, but the greed for money was.

I wonder if Representative Bilbray would support legislation to allow a defendant to be found liable in a product liability lawsuit if the plaintiff knows in his heart that the defendant's product is defective. 

I don't mean to pick on Bilbray; I'm sorry for his loss.  It's just another example of "reformers" relying on flimsy evidence to blame trial lawyers for a societal woe.